Back in Al-Ram
Trip Start Mar 04, 2007
34Trip End Jun 15, 2007
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Al-Ram was where Samuel was buried according to 1 Samuel 25 - halfway between Bethel and Jerusalem.
Samuel wouldn't recognize it today - not just because it has grown but today it is a Muslim town with the Israeli separation wall down the middle of it.
I went there last Thursday afternoon with Asma and Maysa. When I was at Asma's family home before, her mother was in the U.S. visiting family. She is 67 years old and wears the traditional Palestinian dress when outside her home.
She showed me the traditional cap laden with many gold coins she wore when she was married as well as the gold coin necklace. These are very precious to her, not just monetarily, but as a remembrance of the special day when she was married, 50 years ago this year! Of course, she wanted me to try it on which I did! It was so very, very heavy; it's hard to imagine wearing it all day on your marriage day! What a headache!
Her son and Asma's brother, Sam came back with her on the plane and is staying two weeks. I gave him tips on what bank accepts foreign credit and debit cards, etc. He owns and works in a convenience store in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Asma wanted Maysa to show me downtown so off we went, down the hill in front of their building, onto the main street. Small shops like everywhere in Palestine lined the street. It was much quieter than the streets of Ramallah, but as we walked I couldn't help noticing the huge separation wall blocking the street, creating an artificial end to the shopping district. On the other side of the wall are the rest of the shops and the rest of the town - the part of the town I ride through on the bus from Ramallah to Jerusalem after going through the checkpoint.
I should have taken a photo but I didn't want to seem too touristy - because I was with family, but if I had had my journalism hat on, I would have taken several.
It amazes me - the vibrancy, the resiliency, the hope these people have to point out such a huge wall that changes life as a fact of life, and then be laughing in a shop like any other person anywhere. The human spirit is not something that can be walled up. It flows out in hope, love and forgiveness. I've seen it in the lives of Palestinians.